If you’re a punter or have a key interest in betting companies, you may have noticed a
trend in the last few years. More betting companies are now sponsoring teams and
sporting events, e.g., Betway announced that it would partner with five NBA teams in
the United States as of March 2021.
As someone looking in from the outside, such investments may not make much sense, and you may wonder why betting companies would do this.
Additionally, you may question if issues of conflicting interests could occur in the future and if bookies will sway results one way or the other. Let’s focus on why betting companies are now treating sports and teams like a goldmine in which they all want the biggest share:
Look at it this way. It takes a lot of money to get a leg into the competition, and most companies have to part with at least $10 million each year to land a sponsorship deal when working with top football clubs. Other clubs may charge less, but regardless, it’s a high entry price point. Top teams look at these amounts and encourage bookies to apply, knowing that these figures will help them offset some of their administration costs.
From football to athletics down to boxing, each bookie wants a piece of the action, and you may wonder why. Take a look at if Betway decides to sponsor a team like West Ham United. Once the papers have been signed, it can have its logo on the team’s uniform, or if things go great, it could even have its name on the stadium. In some cases, teams have renamed their stadia to match the sponsors, such as the Bet365 Stadium owned by Stoke City. The opportunities are endless.
Now, it gets better. Imagine this is a top club such as West Ham United, with fans all over the world. Each time the players step out in the Betway uniform, fans will wonder, ‘what is Betway?’ Soon, they reach into their pockets, do some research and decide they can try wagering with the bookie. After all, it supports their team, and they already have one interest in common. Slowly, the bookie’s membership starts growing, and before they know it, they’ve moved from being unrecognizable to having fans and members from all parts of the world. We’re talking about millions of fans at the tap of a button. Why would any bookie turn this down? If you look at many new bookies, their starting numbers were not much until they paid the huge initial investment and watched their fanbase explode.
Let’s assume a company wants to sell a sports shoe. The shoe has everything people would want in a shoe. The sole is supportive, the aesthetic is great, and the price looks right. However, the manufacturer does not have a wide fanbase or has not made such a shoe in the past. How can they convince more people to invest in their product? They have two options. They can go the cheap way, hire a regular model, and plaster the pictures on their social media pages. Or they can collaborate with an athlete who already has a wide fanbase and a huge following on social media. What will sell more?
Companies know that the crowd often follows the fame, and if an athlete promotes their product, they’ll have to stock up to avoid running out of shoes. It’s the same case with bookies. They know they can get more people to place wagers with them if only they can advertise using the top teams and players. The more successful an athlete is, the more fans they can get. For example, when Inspire Gaming Group partnered with Mike Tyson and even named a slot after him, it gained a lot of popularity. If the company had relied on normal adverts, it would not have reached as many people as it did by partnering with the youngest boxer to win a heavyweight title.
Sometimes, bookies want to exclude other bookies from having the same opportunities that they do. Take the example of Tottenham, where William Hill provides free and fast WIFI from the bookie. But here’s an interesting caveat. The fans can only use the WIFI to log onto William Hill but cannot access other sites. By doing this, many players who want to participate in live betting without paying for data can consider signing up for a William Hill account.
Without sponsoring the team, the bookie would not have access to lock out its competitors, and this opportunity attracts more bookies to partner with teams and players. Take another example of Wayne Rooney, who wore a jersey with 32Red in honor of the casino that sponsored Derby County when he was in the team. No other bookie had such access, and you can imagine what that did for the casino’s numbers.
What would you do if you had a chance to win free tickets to any game’s finals? Most people would jump at the chance. Bookies know this, and they now partner with teams and sports events to use such lucrative deals to lure punters into playing more. They offer such deals to high rollers who bet high figures at a time, encouraging them to keep playing in the hope of winning one incentive or the other. Even if you don’t wager high amounts, the bookie will partner with the team to find a way to hook you to keep playing.
With punters following brands, it’s easy for bookies to cash in on this mentality, knowing that punters will trust athletes to a high degree. They do not mind spending tens of millions on teams because the rewards are much higher than this.